Aurora City Council slated to consider police chief confirmation Monday

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AURORA | The Aurora City Council is slated to approve a new police chief during its scheduled meeting Monday night and consider a citywide ban on police using chokeholds. 

The long-awaited decisions to approve a new police chief and curb chokehold use come amidst heightened hostilities between Aurora police and protest leaders demanding criminal charges against police and possibly firefighters in the August 2019 death of Elijah McClain. 

Aurora city lawmakers will vote on the appointment of a new chief seven months after former police Chief Nick Metz retired at the end of last year after a string of scandals

The four finalists for the chief position are internal candidates Interim Chief Vanessa Wilson and current Commander Marcus Dudley. Alexander Jones, a colonel and bureau chief with the Baltimore County Police Department in Maryland, and Avery Moore, an assistant police chief with the Dallas Police Department in Texas, were also named finalists.

The police chief is appointed by the city manager and must be confirmed by the city council.

City lawmakers will also consider whether to codify a citywide ban on police using chokeholds on suspects as well as carotid holds, which restrict blood flow to the brain. 

Police stopped and restrained McClain, the young, Black massage therapist, in part with carotid chokeholds in August 2019. 

Councilmembers Juan Marcano and Angela Lawson introduced the ordinance in June to ensure longevity in an existing rules change in APD. City officials already had banned police from using carotid chokeholds in June. 

The Sentinel reported that police received a total of four complaints on the use of chokeholds, strangleholds and carotid holds between 2015 and 2019, according to city documents. As of June 18, the department had received 200 such complaints this year, including more than 120 phone calls, all of which were in reference to McClain’s death.